Saturday, April 26, 2014

I know I've said this all before...

I'm still afraid to go downhill fast.

(admitting the problem is the first step, right?)

The thing is, I think I am finally okay with that...
I don't think I will ever be comfortable pushing myself much further in that realm.
As I chugged along at the back of the group today at French Creek, I wasn't thinking much; I was swatting away an occasional mosquito, marvelling at the perfect perfect weather and doing other non-thinking things on my bike like pedaling, keeping my head up, and picking lines...
In other words, just doing my thing.
I'm pretty grateful to be healthy now and out doing my thing.
Sometimes that means back of the pack (not always, for sure, but for's fiiiiiiine).

That's all.
Wait, that's not all.
Completely unrelated.
I want to chop my hair off again, like super-short.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

on to the next one...

Last Wednesday, my brother was transferred to state prison.
It's now been a week since we last spoke and in a letter I received from him yesterday, my brother said it could still be a few more weeks before we can talk or visit.
During his nearly six months in county prison, Rob was able to earn the respect and friendship of his fellow inmates; he helped create artwork and greeting cards for prisoners to send to their kids and families and he also worked a double shift, daily, in laundry (earning what amounts to, literally,  pocket change for you and me). He found his place in the ranks and managed to hold his head high for the entire duration in county.
I hope...I hope I hope I hope this part of the process finds him safe and well.
From what I understand, this particular prison is rather prehistoric and the classification process sounds daunting.
Bill rode his bike out there yesterday during his lunch break, compelled to catch a glimpse of the compound (and I suppose, in his way, as a show of support to his brother in law) and told me it looks intense.
Well, yeah...
I mean, state prison.
No joke.

Anyway, this blackout period without any communication has been rough (no doubt, most difficult for my nephew), as I've talked to Rob nearly every day (sometimes several times a day) for the past six months.

The letter was written on scraps from envelopes, as he doesn't have plain paper yet, and he said, "this sucks and it's filled with second-hand smoke. Luckily, I am getting my asthma inhaler soon."
Also, "8 phones for 800 inmates. Letters would really help because it's prehistoric in here. Tell everyone I am on to the next chapter and thankful for all the support thus far..."

Oh, Rob.
How did it get this far?

So, here we are...
On to the next one.
New routines and procedures to learn and get used to.
New protocols, new rules, new phone accounts, new ID number, new address.
And I'm sure as soon as we get accustomed to this, he'll be moved yet again for the next step in classification, then finally on to his home prison.
Hopefully not terribly far away (though, likely...terribly far away).




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

singlespeedapalooza: a race report (of sorts)

We signed up for this race on a whim, in the thick of Polar Vortex number three (I don't know, I lost count).
Never mind that we spent little to no time on our bikes all. winter. long.
Every now and then, Max would remind us, "You guys aren't practicing for that race you signed up for," or, "Shouldn't you guys be practicing a lot more for that race coming up soon?"
Or if Singlespeedapalooza came up in casual conversation, Max would chime in, "Oh, you mean that race that neither of you are practicing for?"
Thanks, Max.
*also, I like how he's replaced "training" with "practicing"...
Conversations about Singlespeedapalooza covered all the important pre-race minutiae; what snacks are we packing for the road? What are we making for dinner the night before? Where can we score some really good chocolate covered almonds? Should I pack flip-flops and shorts for post-race hangout? 
Never mind what gear are you running? Is my bike in decent shape? I wonder what conditions are like...
As we packed and organized our supplies (most notably, those very important road trip snacks), Bill had the best idea I've heard in perhaps forever (only slight exaggeration).
"Let's just ride it together."

Ultimately, that's exactly what we did...
Somewhere around the three mile mark, I found my man waiting patiently and from there, we took turns leading each other through the twisty, rolling trails of Stewart State Forest.
It's a rare treat to ride together at all these days, let alone on unfamiliar trails far from home for hours at a time.
It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up.
And it really was a perfect day on the bike in the woods with my husband.

Now we can think about getting in shape for some racing...
The days are longer, I am finally off all the meds (all. the. meds), and we are both itching to get back into it.

(calm down; Bill didn't "pace me" or interfere with the women's race; by the time I "caught" him, I was already in the back of the pack and held that same position til the end, not advancing past any women. We didn't race; we rode...and the results clearly reflect that. ) 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

the hay is in the barn ....and my barn has maybe, like, one bale right now

After a winter of lackluster efforts on the bike (like, do two trainer "rides" count? and maybe a few jaunts on the flat path? errrrr...), I'm a little less than excited to wear my lungs on the outside of my body this coming weekend at Singlespeed A Palooza  .
(what does that even mean? I fully expect be puking up various vital organs along the way, maybe I can tuck my lungs into my jersey pockets somewhere along mile thirteen?)
Sadly (okay, laughably), I can literally count on ONE hand how many times I've been on a real bike outdoors since February.
Why I signed up for this race is beyond me (okay, not entirely...I love the trails at Stewart State Forest, I love the opportunity to escape for a night with my husband, I love the idea of a little road trip to NY with our friends and teammates...oh, and there's got to be a first race of the season, so why wait?).
Why not?

So, "why not?" is going to have to suffice and see me through those miles and miles and miles and miles...and then, it's going to have to see me through those further miles and miles and miles when my hips start to ache and I'm cursing myself for being such a baby about riding in the cold this year.
I'm sure for the first forty-five minutes, I'll feel like a goddamn rock star; if I'm smart, I'll temper that a little bit so I'm not in tears if when I cross the finish line.
Why not?
I miss riding, I miss racing.
It might not be pretty, but I know I can do this and hopefully even have a little bit of fun along the way.


Friday, April 4, 2014


So, it's April. Some days have even felt like spring. Here are a few snaps to prove it:

Yesterday I took my little girl to the orchard. We spent an hour waving to the goats, eating cider donuts, and exploring the (falling apart) playground. 
We're spending more time outside lately and she is so happy about that.
Happy to point at every bird, wave at any and every passerby, smile and laugh just because the breeze is blowing...
I mean, I just get such a kick out of her.
And when the two kids are together, playing outside? Even better.